Claire Labine co-created Ryan's Hope along with Paul Avila Mayer in 1975. She has worked in daytime for some thirty years, having served as head writer of many different shows. (It was actually Claire's post-Ryan's Hope work at General Hospital in the mid-1990s that prompted me to begin watching Ryan's Hope when I started receiving SoapNet to begin with.) Her writing has won nine Emmys and more Writer's Guild Awards than one could count on both hands, including the 1987 Richard K. Jablow Award from the Writers Guild of America-East. Ryan's Hope, in particular, won the Writers Guild Award for Best Written Daytime Serial for each year during which Claire wrote for the show. She also won the 1995 Soap Opera Digest Editor's Choice Award for her lifelong achievement in the genre. And, from everything I've heard, she seems to be a really cool lady as well as a talented writer.
Unfortunately, Claire is not currently writing in daytime, and who can blame her? Alarmingly candid reports (official and unofficial) have been emerging from behind the scenes about how the "suits" at all three networks now dictate which stories air and which actors are featured - and order drastic and incongruous changes in pre-approved stories, after they've already begun airing - in response to the transient data of focus groups and market research, in pursuit of the 18-34 year old and 12-17 year old demographic groups (particularly the latter) that advertisers covet. Sadly, all soaps, no matter whose names are listed in the writing credits, have suffered due to this trend, as they have gone from vehicles of ongoing, in-depth storytelling to fragmented series of bland, superficial soundbytes designed to attract the attention of adolescents. Which makes me all the more glad to have been able to watch Claire's writing every day via Ryan's Hope reruns on SoapNet, confident that the folks at ABC can't do anything to screw it up now, twenty years after the fact.
Ryan's Hope proves that daytime is capable of so much better than the current fare, and that Claire Labine (when she had creative control) was responsible for some of the best it has had to offer.
Articles and Interviews with Claire
Photos of Claire
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